The Vice-President & Provost and Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity, and Culture struck an Advisory Committee to examine potential protections for professional staff leading professional experiential clinics, whose positions may require them to work on contentious issues that arouse controversy, and to examine whether additional supports or protections may be needed.
The creation of this advisory group is further to recommendations of the Cromwell Report and the Presidential response, both of which were released at the end of March 2021.
To fulfill its mandate, the Advisory Committee conducted a comprehensive internal and external scan including a Call for Submissions from the University community as well as examining the various forms of protection provided to administrative staff in comparable Canadian and American post-secondary institutions.
The Advisory Committee fulfilled its terms of reference and submitted their Report on October 28, 2021.
In their report, the Advisory Committee recommended that the University:
- Reaffirm that all members of the University of Toronto enjoy freedom of speech as outlined in the Statement on Freedom of Speech
- Clarify the general distinction between academic administrators (i.e., faculty members serving in administrative roles) and administrators (Professional/Managerial staff), a small number of whom directly support academic functions.
- Extend Academic Freedom to Professional/Managerial staff in roles requiring professional credentials and who lead clinical or experiential learning opportunities.
- Expand eligibility to use the existing Problem Resolution mechanisms for applicable staff groups to probationary employees, where the dispute is related to Academic Freedom.
The University of Toronto will be working to implement the recommendations of the report over the coming weeks and will share more information as it becomes available. Proposed policy changes related to Recommendations 3 and 4 will be brought forward to the University of Toronto Business Board in November 2021. Business Board subsequently approved the Policy on Academic Freedom for Professional & Managerial Staff on November 24, 2021.
Terms of Reference
The Advisory Group on Professional/Managerial (PM) Staff Roles Administering Professional Experiential Education Programs will:
- Consult with members of the University community regarding professional experiential instruction and supervision of students, and situations where potential additional protections may be required.
- Identify PM positions at the University that require professional designations and that lead professional experiential activities for students, where such roles might require additional job protections.
- Identify programs in which these roles are situated both within the University and in other research-intensive universities and assess the models used to supervise such programs including structure, advisory committees, direction, mandate and academic rationales, and protections for professional staff.
- Assess the job descriptions for these roles to better articulate criteria for oversight, and review appropriateness of current job structures.
- Consider how the PM staff members’ standards of professional practice can best be upheld within the structures of these programs.
- Review the University’s existing practices, processes, and policies to determine whether the existing policy framework is appropriate with regards to job protections for these roles, and whether changes or additional policies and processes may be required to support those whose positions require them to take on controversial and unpopular topics.
The Advisory Group was co-chaired by Vice-President Kelly Hannah-Moffat and Acting Provost Trevor Young, and included faculty and staff representatives from academic and shared service units. The Advisory Group presented their recommendations on October 28, 2021.
Advisory Committee Members
- Trevor Young, co-chair, Acting Vice-President & Provost
- Kelly Hannah-Moffat, co-chair, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture
- Heather Boon, Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life
- Susan McCahan, Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education
- Mayo Moran, Professor of Law, University of Toronto and Provost and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College, University of Toronto
- Lisa Dolovich, Professor of Pharmacy and Dean, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
- Lin Fang, Associate Professor & Ph.D. Program Director Factor-Inwentash Chair in Children’s Mental Health
- Ariana Bradford, Executive Director, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
- Erin Jackson, Chief Human Resources Office, Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture
- Heather Kelly, Executive Director, Student Life Programs & Services